Tenn. gas tax plans face uncertainty next week in first potential vote

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The two competing proposals about raising the state’s gas tax face an uncertain future next week when both measures could face a committee vote on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill

Governor Bill Haslam’s sweeping plan that would raise the state’s gas tax by seven cents a gallon, while cutting other taxes, like those on groceries, will be among all the transportation bills scheduled before the House Transportation sub-committee.

This includes a competing bill announced last week by House assistant majority leader David Hawk that would take a quarter of one percent of the state general sales tax and solely dedicate it to the state transportation fund.

Governor Haslam was in full debate mode Tuesday when he got the question about competing with Rep. Hawk’s plan.

“Are we going to do away with teacher raises? Are we going to do away with the tax cuts? Are we going to do away with recurring maintenance on our buildings,” asked the governor.

His budget released last week, included those items based on his proposal that he calls The IMPROVE Act.

Less than an hour later in his office, Rep. Hawk said there’s a lot of time left in this session to answer the questions from the governor, but he took a line that might seem unpopular in corners of Capitol Hill.

“If we are in such dire financial times in how we are funding our transportation needs, I don’t think we can cut taxes right now,” said the lawmaker.